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' TANNHÄUSER '

Synopsis

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Act II. Performed by the BRITISH NATIONAL OPERA COMPANY
Relayed from the Opera House, Manchester
TANNHÄUSER is founded on an old German legend of the adventures of a thirteenth-century minstrel-a ' Minnesinger,' or ' Knight of Song.' He spends some time in dissipation at the Court of Venus, but presently grows tired of her enchantments. He returns to his fellow men, and learns that his old love, Elisabeth, niece of the Landgrave (or Prince), continues to mourn his absence.
The SECOND ACT takes place in the Hall of Song at the Castle of Wartburg. ELISABETH (Soprano) enters and greets the hall as the scene of Tannhauser's former triumphs of song.
WOLFRAM (Baritone) brings Tannhauser (Tenor) to her ; she asks him where he has been. but he can only reply evasively. He assures her of his love, and they sing a joyful duet.
The LANDGRAVE (Bass) enters, and tells Elisabeth that he intends to make her hand the prize at the contest of song. Now the Knights and Ladies of the Court assemble to the famous March. The Landgrave addresses them, explaining that the subject of the minstrels' impromptu songs is to be ' The Nature of Love.' The Knights draw lots to decide who shall begin. Wolfram sings of noble and spiritual love, but when Tannhauser's turn comes, he loses control of himself, and sings a wild song in praise of Venus. The Landgrave and the Knights are incensed, and would kill the impious Tannhäuser. but Elisabeth, grieving at his downfall, begs them to spare him. At this point, from the valley are heard the voices of the Pilgrims, on their way to Rome. The Landgrave enjoins the erring Knight, as a penance, to go with them, and seek the forgive. ness of the Pope. The Act ends with Tannhauser's sad departure on his pilgrimage.

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